Vickery and Robinson return
England receives a boost before their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal.
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2007 17:41 GMT

Phil Vickery of England prepares for a battle against the old enemy [GALLO/GETTY]

England received a boost before their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal against Australia with the return of winger Jason Robinson and captain Phil Vickery.
Robinson injured his hamstring in the 36-0 loss to South Africa and missed the following wins over Samoa and Tonga.
The 33-year-old's counterattacking game is seen as essential for England chances and coach Brian Ashton said he had no doubts about the former rugby league player's fitness.
"He's fine. He's trained all week so it's no risk at all," he said.

"He's an outstanding player, everyone knows that. The Australians have even commented on it this week. Obviously we're very happy he's fit and available."

Fellow convert Andy Farrell is favored to Olly Barkley at inside center and Josh Lewsey switches from fullback to wing for the injured Mark Cueto.

"For this game we need the direct approach Andy Farrell brings to the game," Ashton said.

"He'll be a threat to the opposition line, with his kicking and general leadership and line management.

"I've got full confidence that Jonny Wilkinson and Andy Farrell will sit well together."

2003 revisited

The English side is an experienced one with five of the starting lineup, Wilkinson, Robinson, Vickery, Josh Lewsey and Ben Kay starting in the 2003 final against Australia while Lewis Moody went on as a substitute in England's extra time victory over the Wallabies in Sydney.

"We considered all options in every area of the field," Ashton said.

"Given the nature of the game and importance of it, it was important to go with players who've been in this sort of situation before."

Vickery returns at tighthead in one of two changes to the front row and three in the pack, with Mark Regan coming back at hooker instead of George Chuter who drops to the bench.

Vickery was left out of the starting XV against Tonga despite being available after a two-match suspension for tripping United States center Paul Emerick.

Vickery replaces Matt Stevens and Simon Shaw comes into the second row for Steve Borthwick.

Dallaglio benched

Lawrence Dallaglio, another of the starters in the 2003 final, is on the bench.

England recovered from a crushing 36-0 loss to South Africa to beat
Samoa and Tonga in other Group A matches and Ashton said those games had prepared his team for a knockout situation against the Wallabies.

"We've already played two knockout games," he said.

"After South Africa, we were straight into the knockout phase. From that point of view, we're well done."

England side: Jason Robinson, Paul Sackey, Mathew Tait, Andy Farrell, Josh Lewsey, Jonny Wilkinson, Andy Gomarsall; Andrew Sheridan, Mark Regan, Phil Vickery (captain), Simon Shaw, Ben Kay, Martin Corry, Lewis Moody, Nick Easter.

Replacements: George Chuter, Matt Stevens, Lawrence Dallaglio, Joe Worsley, Peter Richards, Olly Barkley, Dan Hipkiss.

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